Teach Yourself Japanese
Subject: Re: Studying Kanji readings
From: Carl (carlsensei.com)
Date: Fri, 08 May 2009 20:35:35 GMT
生 is a special case. Most characters don't require anywhere near as much memorization. It's worth knowing all the readings on that list, but only because it's worth knowing all the *words* on the list.
Anyhow, unless you want to learn to be able to handwrite everything, there's not much point in just going through and memorizing lists of kanji. (I will admit though that for handwriting, there is no other method than writing all the characters in a list over and over again.) This method works for Japanese kids, because they speak Japanese already. They don't need to improve their vocabulary as much as their literacy. For foreigners, you're better off making word lists and just memorizing the readings of the kanji on your word lists. After a while, you get to where you can guess the on'yomi of new kanji based on their radicals, and then the process starts to go a little faster, but the main thing is to build up your vocab not your kanji alone.
See http://www.guidetojapanese.org/blog/2008/09/03/breathe-relax-you-dont-have-to-know-it-all/ and http://no-sword.jp/blog/2009/04/kanji_as_argo.html
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